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U-17 MNT Win Ballymena Opening Match Against Switzerland

BALLYMENA, Northern Ireland (April 24, 2006) - The U.S. Under-17 '90 Men's National Team pulled out a 2-1 victory over Switzerland this afternoon in their opening match of the 2006 Ballymena International Tournament in Northern Ireland. The victory, provided by goals from Sheanon Williams and Ellis McLoughlin, is the first international win for the U-17 ’90 MNT. 

The U.S. sits in second place in Group A after the first day of matches, trailing Northern Ireland in goal differential. The hosts beat up on Finland, 6-0, in the late Group A match. The U.S. will face Finland on Tuesday, April 25.

After arriving on Sunday to sunny skies, the U.S. was greeted with overcast clouds and rainy conditions for their first match of the tournament. Despite the wet field, the U.S. came out and dominated the match, but surprisingly it was Switzerland that scored first.

The Swiss were struggling to get across the midfield stripe, but a mistake in the backline allowed Marco Rocca to intercept the ball for a breakaway against goalkeeper Josh Lambo, which he calmly buried into the net. The shot was the first attempt for Switzerland in the match.

The U.S. had a number of other opportunities during the rest of the 40-minute half, but couldn’t find the equalizer until the second half. Danny Wenzel pushed the ball out wide for Matt Uy, who raced up the left sideline before serving in a ball to the box. Williams got separation from his defender and headed home the cross.

McLoughlin continued his hot streak of late, scoring the game-winner in the 77th minute. Substitute Brandon Tarr played the ball across the 18-yard box to McLoughlin, who took a few touches before unleashing a low left-footed drive inside the left post. The Swiss ‘keeper got a hand to the shot, but couldn’t stop it from crossing the goal line.

"This was a game where we definitely showed some composure to come away with a win," said U-17 MNT head coach John Hackworth. "We fell behind early even though we were controlling the match, but we didn't fold and came back in the second half to get the victory. I'm extremely pleased with our performance and now we have a quick turnaround to get ready for Finland."

In Group B action, Canada defeated Scotland, 1-0, while the Czech Republic got past Belgium, 2-1.

The U.S. has never won the Ballymena International Tournament, coming up short three times in the championship match out of four overall appearances. In 2000, the U.S. finished fourth, but reached the final the past three consecutive years in 2002, 2004 and 2005, only to fall to Israel (1-2), Switzerland (3-4 in penalties) and Czech Republic (0-1), respectively.

U.S. Under-17 '90 Men's National Team Match Report

Participants:  U.S. Under-17 ‘90s Men’s National Team vs. Switzerland
Competition:  Ballymena International Tournament
Location: Ballymena, Northern Ireland
Date: April 24, 2006
Weather: Overcast and rainy, 60 degrees

Scoring Summary: 
               1st   2nd    Final
USA         0       2         2
SUI          1       0         1
SUI – Marco Rocca                                          19th minute
USA – Sheanon Williams (Matt Uy)              51.
USA – Ellis McLoughlin (Brandon Tarr)      77.

USA: 18-Josh Lambo; 13-Mattt Uy, 3-Tommy Meyer, 5-Ian Kalis, 2-Brandon Lee; 15-Bryan Dominguez (20-Brandon Tarr, 71), 14-Jared Jeffrey, 7-Danny Wenzel, 12-Alex Dixon (8-Kirk Urso, 78), 9-Sheanon Williams, 10-Ellis McLoughlin (16-Brandon Zimmerman, 79).

SUI: 1-Oliver Klalis; 2-David Steiner, 3-Alex Papalardo, 4-Jan Wuhrann, 5-Michael Lang; 6-Bruce Lalonbongo, 7-Valon Duhzmani (17-Llbovic Mathis, 71), 8-Pietro Dinardo, 10-Marco Schonbachler, 11-Florian Berisha; 9-Mario Rocca (18-Omar Baljic, 71). 

Statistical Summary:
                              USA    SUI
Shots                      17       9
Saves                      3        4
Fouls                      10       19
Corner Kicks          4        3
Offside                     1        1

Misconduct Summary:
SUI – Alex Popalardo (caution)              23rd minute
USA – Ellis McLoughlin (caution)          28.
SUI – Bruce Lalonbongo (caution)        39.
SUI – Valon Duhzmani (caution)           64.

Ballymena International Tournament Standings

Group A

Teams GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
Northern Ireland 1 1 0 0 6 0 +6 3
USA 1 1 0 0 2 1 +1 3
Switzerland 1 0 1 0 1 2 -1 0
Finland 1 0 1 0 0 6 -6 0

Monday, April 24
USA 2, Switzerland 1
Northern Ireland 6, Finalnd 0

Tuesday, April 25
USA vs. Finland
Northern Ireland vs. Switzerland

Wednesday, April 26
USA vs. Northern Ireland
Finland vs. Switzerland

Friday, April 28
Placement Matches vs. Group B

Group B

Teams GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
Czech Republic 1 1 0 0 2 1 +1 3
Canada 1 1 0 0 1 0 +1 3
Belgium 1 0 1 0 1 2 -1 0
Scotland 1 0 1 0 0 1 -1 0

Monday, April 24
Czech Republic 2,  Belgium 1
Canada 1, Scotland 0

Tuesday, April 25
Czech Republic vs. Canada
Belgium vs. Scotland

Wednesday, April 26
Czech Republic vs. Scotland
Belgium vs. Canada

Friday, April 28
Placement Matches vs. Group A